The chaos that came out of “Twitch Plays Pokémon” is like nothing anyone could have expected. Now clocking in at just over a week, 60,000 people have created mock religions with false prophets, gotten lost in mazes usually navigated by six-year-olds, and infuriated and captivated gamers across the world. It’s no longer a matter of if Twitch chat will finally beat the Elite Four, but when, and once they are crowned Pokémon Champion, what else can they beat? Here are some picks for games that Twitch should throw their decision-making “power” at.
Final Fantasy series
The mackdaddy of RPGs is an easy choice: iconic characters, a dedicated fanbase, and a large library of titles that can be controlled by thousands of people with little hiccups. Earlier titles will obviously be the best fit, though anything with the Active Time Battle system would probably be removed from the running on speed alone. Additionally, most Final Fantasy games come with a religion written right into the story, which means no need for messiahs heralded by unwashed masses of Twitch chat!
Fire Emblem series
While a tactics game at heart, Fire Emblem offers many features that could endear an audience to Helix Fossil levels of worship. Consistent, RPG-style units and the newer titles’ more modern anime art direction means plenty of moe anime girls for the Twitch audience to get attached to and subsequently kill after days of hard work. I’ll be the first to admit, however, that a strategy RPG with a grid square and intricate combat systems like flanking may be a touch more complex than democratic video gaming can handle.
Any Traditional Rogue-like
In the same vein of Fire Emblem, the eponymous Rogue and its ilk are equal parts logistically feasible and potentially horrifying. Randomized levels mean no amount of previous knowledge of the game can prepare even the most intrepid viewer for what lies ahead, and a punishing permadeath mechanic means plenty of ways for less savory individuals to screw everyone over. Of course, this may just be a little too much for a broadcast to handle “maturely.” I can only imagine the ludicrous amounts of progress lost to the ravages of “accidental” permadeath, but there are enough Rogue-likes out there that a reasonable alternative for Twitch could probably be found.
Pretty much any visual novel
Twitch plays Pokemon is all about choice, regardless of how ridiculous that choice or thousands of choices may be, and visual novels are easily some of the most choice-driven games out there. While clearly not the most visually engaging genre out there, a visual novel’s branching paths can easily be voted upon by the denizens of Twitch chat. Of course, visual novels are exceptionally niche games, and bad choices can lead to dead ends and game overs. Just as well, the fact that choices are the only way to progress a visual novel make spoilers very harmful to the experience as a whole. A brand new visual novel made specifically for the purpose of being played by thousands of people would be an interesting, if unreasonable, solution, but there are hundreds of visual novels to choose from as it is.
There have been six generations of Pokémon games, each with an entirely new set of idiosyncrasies for Twitch chat to exploit for their own entertainment. My personal pick would be Pokémon Gold/Silver, which also happens to be my favorite Pokémon game. The game has twice as much explorable space than Red to get lost in and more than 100 new Pokemon to worship as false idols or release into the wild for reasons beyond anyone’s comprehension. Incidentally, Pokémon’s 20th anniversary is in two years. Now how old does that make you feel?
Twitch plays Pokemon is probably one of the strangest gaming experiments ever conceived. If its any indication of what may come in video games this year, it would probably be a good idea to grab some popcorn, strap in, and watch the chaos unfold from the comfort of your PC.